The Hills Are Greener: What’s In a Name?

The Hills Are Greener: What’s In a Name?

Nov 14, 2011

So, on Friday, Verizon unveiled the Droid Razr, the 547th Droid phone released this year. This is likely hyperbole, but it doesn’t strike too far from the truth. The fact is, major Android manufacturers are diluting their product line. This argument was made by Engadget recently; many of the products are just confusing just based on the name alone. What does make a Droid Razr better than a Droid Thunderbolt, or an HTC Rezound better than an Evo, other than the name? If I’m having trouble figuring out the differences between two phones from a manufacturer besides “that one phone is newer” then how will the average user?

This is something where Apple has succeeded. Their products are very clearly identified, and their naming scheme has worked out to where it’s clear which device is better than which. Samsung has done a good job with this in the Galaxy S line; while the original line had confusing names on the various carriers, they still pushed the Galaxy S branding. As well, the Galaxy S II is being pushed as that name, which helps explain why it has sold so well internationally. Samsung still makes other phones, often targeted for budget lines, though. The fact is, Samsung and Apple are doing it right – they’re pushing their phones as individual devices, not continuing the same obfuscation that other manufacturers use.

This Apple and Samsung model is what other manufacturers need to adopt. Google is practicing it as well with the Nexus phones that they commission, trying to pitch them as their prime iPhone-esque brand leaders. In fact, making fewer phones and identifying them more clearly will work better for the Android platform as a whole. Right now, I fear that the muddled branding is part of Android’s problem with recognition. No one knows what any Android phone actually is. All they know is that there’s the iPhone, the Galaxy S 2, and those “Droid” phones. Apple is an intellectual market leader; the other manufacturers take design clues from them, why not follow their lead in other ways too?

Motorola Announces Droid RAZR Phone and MOTOACTV Android-Powered Fitness Watch

Some things in life are mysteries, never to be deciphered by mankind. The latest unsolvable engima? Why Motorola decided that the day before the Galaxy Nexus was a good day to unveil their latest Android devices. But, Motorola did unveil two new devices on October 18th, and cover them we shall!

First up is the Droid RAZR. Yes, the RAZR is back, raised from the dead for Motorola’s latest Droid phone. It features a 4.3″ 960×540 screen, with an 8 megapixel camera, 1080p video recording, LTE support, 16 GB internal storage, and 1 GB of RAM. The phone currently runs Gingerbread, and lacks NFC, both of which are lacking in comparison to the Galaxy Nexus. Apparently the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility hasn’t had much of an effect yet in terms of Motorola getting leads on Android hardware and software. It sounds like an impressive set of hardware, but it still was topped by Google and Samsung 12 hours later.

The device that could really be interesting, however, is the MOTOACTV. This is a wristwatch-esque device that is basically designed to compete with the iPod nano. It comes with 8 or 16GB of storage, runs on Android, and is primarily designed for fitness usage. It can also be used to control Android phones via an app that will be made available on the Android Market. It can be used to answer calls (when paired with a Bluetooth headset), and receive text messages. This is the kind of thing that the Android customization community could make great use of, to help make it run apps focused on the smaller screen, and to increase the level of interaction it has with connected devices.

While the Droid RAZR sounds like it will be a high-quality phone, albeit not exactly top-of-the-line. However, the MOTOACTV sounds like the device to really get interested about for its connectivity and portability potential.